The perfect drink pairing for summer in the city? Adaptogenic Gynostemma, a.k.a. The Tea of Immortality, will help you burn the candle at both ends for those long summer nights, says Ysanne Spevack.
Want a beverage that helps you burn your candle at both ends? Just say no to coffee, and “Oh hi!” to gynostemma tea!
Known as Jiao-Gu-Lan (the Tea of Immortality) in parts of Southern China, gynostemma is a green leafy adaptogenic plant that’s the go-to for busy urbanites in the know. It’s especially well suited to help us surf summer life in the city, with its fluctuations in the weather (especially this year, what happened, NYC?!) and June’s dawn-to-dusk increased outdoors time.
With the most adaptogenic saponins of any wild-crafted plant in the world (four times the amount of ginseng), this stuff strengthens your natural ability to stabilize blood sugar, supports your immune function, and enhances endurance. And it doesn’t speed you out or crash and burn. It’s all about balancing the nervous system—as with all adaptogens, by definition gynostemma can energize you when you need it, yet help you to relax and sleep at night.
But the real reason it’s known as “The Tea of Immortality” is because of its benefits to liver and cardio function. It supports the body’s production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that protects the liver from free radicals. And it helps arteries, veins, and capillaries release nitric oxide, which helps them to relax.
The taste is a little like the stevia herb, but less sweet—not at all bitter, but an unusual green herby flavor that makes a fantastic base for other drinks and a pleasant iced tea.
And get this … it’s also a beautiful cascading plant that you can grow in a city apartment as a decorative house plant, so long as you have a sunny window. Alternatively, it’s easy to find at stores like Kamwo Meridian Herbs on Grand Street in NYC or in their online shop, which is my go-to for anything to do with Chinese medicine.
June Gynostemma, Shiso, and Goji Ice Tea Don’t smirk at the gojis!!! This is what you’ve been missing all these years. Dry gojis are nasty—but gojis in tea are FABULOUS. And they’re a natural partner to gynostemma, the strange flavors of both combining into a perfect sweet herby balance. And then basil, or if you’re super lucky and can find it, fresh shiso herb. Oh. My. Gosh.
Recipe Makes 1 cup
Ingredients: 1 gynostemma tea bag OR 1 teaspoon dried gynostemma herb 1-2 fresh shies leaves** 10-20 dried goji berries
**Shiso is a kind of basil, so it’s totally possible to switch out shiso for regular Genovese or another type of basil. That said, shiso has flavor magic—it’s the third leg on the stool for this recipe to really stabilize and pop. Find it in Japanese stores, or grow it yourself. It’s easy to grow during summer in New York.
Method: Bring some water to a rolling boil—not in a microwave, please!
Put the herbs and gojis in a coffee mug.
Pour the freshly boiled water into the mug.
Leave on the counter to steep and cool naturally.
Drink as it is, or if preferred, transfer to a tall glass and add ice.
Welcome to sweet, sun-kissed summertime! Pack up your beach bag and don’t forget to bring the perfect tarot cards for June 2017, says Melinda Lee Holm.
As we leave the blossoming of Spring behind and head into the cultivation of Summer, June brings the promise of a new era of personal growth and development. We will be challenged to see clearly, to get in touch with our deepest desires, to integrate the lessons of the past so we can expand into the future, and to honor both the yin and yang as indispensible parts of our whole beings.
Let June’s tarot guides lead the way … (to be used in conjunction with the monthly Tarotscopes for your sign by Lindsay Mack!)
:: 6/09 Jupiter Stations Direct in Libra – The World ::
This planet of expansion has been retrograde since February 5 of this year, giving us the chance carefully consider the steps we are taking to develop personally and professionally. When she stations direct on the 9th, we are in a great position to use all of that gathered wisdom to grow purposefully and consciously, and Libra’s influence will bring a touch of beauty and partnership to the mix.
The Major Arcana’s final card, The World, represents the birth of a new era built upon the work and completion of a previous cycle. In the card, we see a figure with her legs positioned in the shape of Jupiter’s symbol floating in a womb-like container, surrounded by watchful celestial allies. She pauses now, taking in the greatness of the cycle she has completed so she can fully integrate the wisdom of this phase before she steps into the next, knowing that the Universe will be here to support her continued growth.
Calling in The World:
Spend a day alone at the spa (or the beach, or in the tub)—emerge feeling reborn
Eat figs—they are associated with Jupiter’s fecundity
Give yourself a clean slate by clearing out your desk, your closet, or your whole house
Add a drop or 2 of food-grade Frankincense oil to your juice or tea—the strong anti-inflammatory properties of the resin will help calm your body from the inside out
:: 6/12 School’s Out! – 7 of Cups ::
Whether you’re in school or not, now is a great time to get into the ‘school’s out’ mentality and focus on following your bliss. Forget about what you think you should be doing or should be desiring, ignore the chatter telling you what success looks like, and explore your heart’s true desires on these long gorgeous days of sun and leisure.
With the 7 of Cups as our guide, we can take a minute to turn on, tune in, and drop out of the rat race and into our own personal paradise. The Rider-Waite illustration shows us that the outer trappings of glory we grasp for —beauty, riches, a big house, a dragon!—are incomparable to the emotional fulfillment that comes from finding that magical something that sets our heart on fire. Symbolized by the draped, glowing figure in the central cup, this intangible light of joy is the source of true bliss.
Calling in the 7 of Cups:
Wear or carry raw or cut Ruby—the stone helps ignite the heart’s true passion
Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about
Go on vacation, even for a day—without your phone and computer
Wear loose fitting clothing, allowing your body to move completely without restriction, following its own bliss!
:: 6/18 Father’s Day – King of Pentacles ::
Tradition in the US has pulled the holiday away from its Catholic roots and toward a more personal celebration of the bond between Dads and their kids. It’s an important holiday in a culture that does not tend to reward men for the nurturing, understanding, and caring qualities they need to be great fathers.
The King of Pentacles, the Tarot’s nurturing patriarch, provides us with a wonderful example of the power of gentle masculinity. He leads with a velvet touch, encouraging everything and everyone around him to grow and thrive as best fits their individuality. This laid back, supportive nature combined with his readiness to fight for those around him (note the armor peeking out from beneath his robe) make the King of Pentacles my pick for best Dad of the deck.
Calling in the King of Pentacles:
Dress decadently—patterns, colors, fabrics—wear what feels regal!
Meditate with Clear Calcite—it promotes unconditional love and helps clear any blockages to giving or receiving it
Plant wildflowers or other plants native to your area
Commit to only giving advice when it is asked for
:: 6/20 Summer Solstice – The Sun ::
Summer Solstice festivals in agrarian societies honored the fire of life and the drive to plant and produce in hopes of a bountiful harvest. Metaphorically, it’s a time to invigorate our personal goals and plans with this renewed fire.
The message of The Sun card is ‘what you see is what you get.’ This can be a challenging energy if what you see is not what you want to believe. But once we push past the loss of the created narrative, we can feel the relief of simply being able to trust what is present rather than obsessing over the past or fantasizing about the future. The Sun calls us to see and believe in the here and now.
Calling in The Sun:
Go outside and bask in the rays! (don’t forget your sunblock)
Decorate your space with fresh sunflowers
Wear or carry Fluorite—the mental clarity it provides help tap into the psychic illumination The Sun card offers
Eat citrus fruits—the cleansing properties of citrus will help you to stay clear and present
Happy birthday, sweet Gemini! You will be moving through the sacred and mysterious energy of The Wheel of Fortune this month, an amazing frequency to begin a new cycle in. To put it simply, change is afoot. Energetically, a new chapter has begun in your life, one that will unfold and reveal itself to you through the coming year. Wheel of Fortune is essentially offering you a clean slate. Starting this month, you get to decide what you want your life to be. What are you ready to step into, and to walk away from?
There’s never been a better time to zero in on these aspects of your life, to become more deeply aware of your desires. The Wheel does promise powerful transformation, but one we are asked to have a hand in. Be present this month, Gemini. That is the best way you can show up for this powerful change. Emphasize trust, mental clarity, and personal empowerment. Inquire deeply and critically around all aspects of your life—if even one part of it is not serving you, be willing to plant the seed of a new intention for change. Make choices that are aligned with what you desire, not what you believe you have to endure.
All of these actions, internal or external, work to keep the Wheel spinning in our favor. It is possible for an enormous amount to shift for you on a cellular level this year, so kick it off by going within and getting clear. Such a frequency calls to mind the beautiful, and much cited Mary Oliver quote: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Allow this holy question to be a deep mantra for your soul this month, Gemini—you are co-creating your future with the Universe. Let it be glorious.
Think of the month of June as a gentle time-out for your nervous system, Cancer. Your brain and body really need a break. These last few months have not been easy on any of you, so be willing to rebalance the energy by taking a much needed soul sabbatical. Cool it with social media, if you find that that takes up a lot of your personal bandwidth. Avoid too much overworking, too much output, and too much consuming.
Go within, and give yourself the gift of some sweet solitary time. If you choose to be social, take care to spend your precious energy and time on those who refill your well, rather than drain it of its resources. These acts of self care are an essential part of honoring the medicine of 4 of Swords, which provides us with the organic space to take a mental break. Honoring the invitation of this card yields many gifts, including a reset of the nervous system, the chance to clear away any energies that don’t belong to you, and a fresh start on the other side of the break.
If you’ve been in deep emotions or depression, this time will give you the chance to heal, or to see if you need to reach out for more support going forward. If you’ve been in flux with relationships, friendships, career, or personal work, this will provide you with the chance to get clear on why that might be, and what you can do to shift it. It might not be the sexiest card, but it’s bringing a vitally important invitation your way. Give yourself what you so deeply need, and lavish yourself with the gift of space, time, deep breaths, and love. You’ll be back on the other side in no time.
First things first: please don’t fear the presence of Three of Swords this month, Leo. Although it is not the bubbliest of cards (aka, not at all), it does hold deep medicine for you this month. I encourage you to welcome it with open arms—and a deep, calming breath for good measure. Three of Swords in your monthly pull does not mean that you will have a month filled with heartbreak. It does not mean that a betrayal is imminent. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that it’ll even be a tough or negatively tinged time for you.
What it does mean is that you are being invited to upgrade and shift the way you identify with and absorb mental drama, blame or guilt, from yourself or from external sources. By saying no thank you to the mental merry go round, you open yourself up a deeper attention placed on healing and processing of pain; a lovingkindness practice for the wounded heart. In other words, Leo, you’re being invited to come home to yourself in moments of suffering, rather than distract, externalize or dissociate from it. Staying with the heart during difficult moments is so important.
Not only does it allow us to deepen intimacy with ourselves, but it clarifies for us where we might need to get some loving advice and to upgrade our sources of support. Prioritizing the heart is not weakness. Prioritizing our hearts allows us to actually process our pain. It helps us to let go, to communicate, to stand up for ourselves, to apologize. Any moment that you are triggered is a moment you are on the mat, Leo. How will you show up and care for yourself? Choose the heart first and foremost, and the next steps will be clear.
June is a month of choice for you, Virgo, presented within the lens of Five of Crystals, or Pentacles. This card, like all fives in the Tarot, can be challenging, but it has to be—it is here to teach us how to stay in our center during difficult times. Five of Pentacles can sometimes be felt as an experience of lack, scarcity or financial squeezing. Sometimes it can arise as general stress. When in this energy, we can feel some big fears and doubt. The choice, Virgo, is how you will respond to these thoughts.
Will you freak out, dropping into begging, desperation and mental doomsday scenarios, or will you choose ease and grace? Will you remember that nothing is permanent? Will you remember to stay in the present moment and out of the future? Will you remember to keep your eyes on your own paper? It’s all up to you this month. If you choose truth, you will not only breeze through the energy of the Five of Pentacles, but you will have gained enormous wisdom, strength, trust, and confidence, even through contraction.
The wisdom we gain in any Five is invaluable, as it is whenever we are willing to sit with discomfort like an old friend. When we choose ease and grace instead of resistance in these moments, we become imbued with an inner trust that is unshakable. This is the gift of contraction, as we are often asked to be reminded of in this life. The choice, Virgo, is whether to honor this, or fight it. As you might guess, fighting makes things tougher. On the other hand, honoring it and using our energy shrewdly in moments of discomfort brings tremendous gifts. It’s up to you—choose wisely.
June is primed to be an incredibly powerful and potentially transformative month for you, Libra. You may genuinely come out on the other side of this cycle a changed and shifted person, ready to embrace the next great expansion of your life. Judgement, or Awakening, can reroute the course of our very existence. It can melt karma, open our eyes to profound truths, flood us with a-has, and clarify the imperceptible. When we get this card, it means business. It is here to help us to let go of all that doesn’t serve so that we can move forward, free to receive what we desire, moving joyfully into the next phase of our lives.
The question is, Libra, are you ready for that? Are you prepared to truly exorcise what stands in the way of your self acceptance, your birthright, your abundance—even if it’s your own fear and sabotage? You are going to be asked to acknowledge and release some of the oldest layers of self judgement within your being, and to look very compassionately at how these behaviors may be holding you back. You have outgrown these old judgements, so it is time to look critically and honestly at why they might still be arising for you.
If the source of the judgement is an old form of self protection, fear of success or belief you don’t deserve the success you have, be willing to gently but firmly set intentions on upgrading those beliefs in your life. Transformation is absolutely possible this month if you’re willing to dive deep with an open, curious heart. Once you make it to the other side of this invitation, you will have cleared a tremendous space for the new. Goodness, love, abundance and blessings are searching for you, Libra. Make sure you’re leaving the door open to them.
Take your space unapologetically this month, Scorpio. Honor any and all of your inner needs. None of it is selfish, and none of it is wasteful. It is all necessary for your wellbeing, and to be able to foster deeper intimacy with yourself. Two of Swords is an invitation to be deeply committed to our mental balance, to return to the realm of our inner life in order to be clear about our funkiest thoughts, beliefs, feelings and experiences. This card, despite the perception people have about it, is truly the picture of self care.
It takes work and courage to clearly and lovingly define our boundaries, to take the time to process our emotions instead of closing our hearts or lashing out. For the sake of your self care, and that of your most cherished relationships, be willing to take steps this month around giving yourself what you need in all arenas, with an extra dose of love and attention to your brain chemistry. Remember, sweet Scorpio: balance is not a fixed state. It is constantly in motion, always in flux. You can allow a devotion to balance to be your mindfulness practice this month, checking in with yourself as often as you’re called to, making adjustments as you go.
Anything you need to achieve and maintain this balance, whether it’s working out, emphasizing time at your altar, pulling Tarot cards, cooking yourself nourishing meals, or taking long walks, give it to yourself unconditionally. When you are emotionally triggered or rocked this month, it is doubly important for you to reach for your tools of self care. By taking space and nourishing yourself in those moments, rather than shutting down, you pave a path to deeper intimacy with others, and deeper intimacy with yourself.
June is going to be a beautiful month for you, Sagittarius. The cycle ahead will be brimming with new beginnings and exciting opportunities for you, all presented within the lens of Page of Wands. Page of Wands is a court card that blends the double elimentation of Earth and Fire to infuse us with a kind of rooted idealism in our lives. The Page of Wands has learned to pause before leaping into a passionate venture, allowing her thoughts to collect, her mind to focus, and her fire to be grounded in a healthier way.
There is no more burnout or exhaustion for this archetype; she has learned to breathe and inquire before she takes on a new task. If it doesn’t align with her body and soul, she says no. In addition, this card also allows us to fully and completely clear the past so we may leap into the future in a mindful way, avoiding the crunch of stacking too many things on top of each other in our creative process. Like all Pages, this card is full of enthusiasm and idealism, but very wise —just like you, Sagittarius.
You are coming home to your roots in Page of Wands, turning over a new energetic leaf as you walk forward into the energy of the month ahead. Put simply, you are rebirthing. It is most definitely time for a new venture, a new project, a new career path, or a big move. You are ready, your soul is hungry, and this month is the start of something big in that arena. You have the capacity to make huge strides toward manifesting this vision in the month of June—just make sure you honor a measured pace, fully closing the proverbial doors behind you as you step forward. If you intentionally blend your fire with earth this month, all of these new visions will unfold beautifully.
There is a powerful mastery for you in Oppression, or The Devil this month, Capricorn: it is here to help you honor, embrace and even bless your shadow. Yes, indeed—to befriend yourself at a level that, most likely, makes you very uncomfortable. The gift of such an act is that you will truly taste a new level of radically unconditional love within your being, freeing yourself to be more expansive in your life in all ways. Any aspects of your identity that remain perpetually chained to the idea that something is wrong with you must be freed and embraced this month.
Bow to any part of your shadow self that invites you into shame, discomfort or stress. Those feelings are actually where the archetype of The Devil resides—not in the shadow itself. Honoring the shadow doesn’t mean that we eat the whole cake, have the drink, use, reconnect with our horrible ex, or cause harm to ourselves or another in any way. Far from it. Instead, it is an immensely powerful opportunity for you to liberate yourself from self judgement and anxiety when you do move through addictive cycles. Feelings are not facts; there is nothing wrong with a feeling. You can trust yourself, no matter where you are in your journey.
When you have trust, you can let yourself play in the ocean of your shadow without fear of the other shoe dropping. Be the one to break the chain by letting those parts dance, play, and run wild, shining your light onto the shadow, all within the confines of your particular soul path. Forgive yourself, release your judgement and shame, and love the parts of yourself that you condemn. On the other side of this invitation is a level of personal freedom that will change your life, if you’re willing to let it.
Blessed be, Aquarius! What a beautiful energy to be moving through this month! You are bursting forward in the glorious Ace of Wands this June, leaving behind a trail of all that does not serve your expansion. Any Ace is considered to be a sacred gift from the Universe, one that seemingly comes out of nowhere, showering our life with blessings and clarity for the path ahead. Indeed, Aquarius, it would be fitting for you to consider the month ahead to be a mini Big Bang for your soul’s evolution.
There is going to be some truly spectacular growth, alchemy and inspiration moving through you during this cycle. It is possible, in this energy, for you to feel more guided, directed and clear than you ever have before. Use it to the fullest degree you can, allowing it to pave the way for the next great creative venture of your life. Aces are considered to be the purest form of whatever suit they are in—the presence of them is truly a pure invitation, as they always bring something new and wonderful into our lives.
Ace of Wands is related to the realm of fire, and can arise around the areas of passion, sexuality, creativity, travel, freedom and personal expression. You were in Two of Wands last month, Aquarius, so very clearly you are on your way to some real change, born on the back of desire. Dive deeply into your passion, loves. Set yourself free. You are energetically rebirthing in this card, so fully claim it and flow forward in this energy. Whether you move across the world, get married, come out of the closet, make the greatest art of your life — or all of the above—you can’t lose. It’s time to burst forth into the next great adventure or your life, letting your inner fire guide the way.
June is going to be an absolutely lovely month for you, Pisces, energetically speaking. Six of Crystals, or Pentacles, is going to be showering you with some truly beautiful blessings, many of which will come in several forms. You will be asked to be open to these blessings, and to prioritize an inner balance of giving and receiving this month. Allow your personal cup to overflow in all ways, opening your arms and heart to any sources of abundance that want to make their way to you.
Any six in the Tarot is always a welcome sight; the dawn after the dark of the 5’s, which are fairly tough and contractive across the board. When we are in a 6, we can trust that we’ve made our way through some form of difficulty and now it’s time to let the light shine, opening ourselves again in an expansive way. As far as how Six of Pentacles is showing up in your month, Pisces, it is inviting you to shift into a deeper mastery of receiving this month, allowing your inner well to become rebalanced by nurturing yourself just as much as you nurture and hold space for others.
Prioritizing this invitation into deeper receptivity will not only be immensely restorative for you, but will allow you to be a more generous giver. It might be time to raise your rates, to take a month off, to get childcare for weekly date nights, or to volunteer at the charity of your choice. No matter what calls to your heart, it’s a win across the board. Just open up and let the love in. You deserve it, you have earned it, and now you are ready to expand in a new way. Life wants to give you gifts; make sure you are available to receive them.
June promises to be a really sweet month for you, Aries, in a few different ways. Nine of Cups is said to be “the wishing card,” and can herald a time of dreams coming to fruit, or of our wishes manifesting into form. It is a very dreamy card, so even if you don’t hit the big time this month, it’ll be a lovely ride all the same. What is really important for you this month, Aries, is to offer yourself the gift of space and time. Nines in the Tarot represent the end of a cycle, one that we typically spend in some measure of intentional solitude.
Honoring your space this month will give way to some really powerful personal wake ups, especially around the timely subject of wishing, dreams and visions for the future. In addition, taking this space will give you the luxury of being able to deeply appreciate all the current gifts in your life, and how hard you worked to make them happen. This month is certainly a time to count your blessings and honor yourself for a job well done in many aspects.
It’s also a time to deeply consider whether you’d like to shift anything for the future, and what it is, from your soul, that you truly desire to birth in this next cycle of your life. Nine of Cups is not just a card of wishes, it’s a card of wishing. It is a magical energy, one in which much can manifest from our intentions, so let your intentions be clear, Aries. In many ways, you’ve deeply succeeded in your life, and have reached a point of review. Where is it that you’d like to go next? Wherever the next adventure is, let yourself enjoy the fruits of your hard work along the way.
This month is an amazing time to spread your wings and fly, sweet Taurus, straight into the heart of the great adventure of your life. The Fool, or Starseed, is card zero. It is the alpha and the omega, the great unknown, the wild mystery. This card invites us to leap off the edge of our comfort zone, preparing us for a whole new cycle of expansion, experience, and wisdom in our lives. You just need your courage, Taurus; the Universe has got the rest.
The most important thing to honor about The Fool is that it’s a Major Arcana card, all of which are perfect and beautiful invitations for our soul’s highest evolution. In other words, Taurus, the other shoe isn’t going to drop. You aren’t being punked, and, in fact, by moving through the medicine of this card, you are doing the farthest possible thing from being “foolish.” It is easy to label something as being full of folly when it’s scary, a big leap into the unknown. And it’s true—sometimes in life we strike out when we take risks, but never with The Fool.
With this card, it’s a gamble that pays off big time. It is life’s joyful, enthusiastic green light, telling you to go for it. Now is the time. Everything is aligned for your highest good, and for perfect timing. If you’ve been looking for a sign to leap, move, or quit your job, it has arrived in front of you in the form of The Fool. Whatever dreams, wishes and visions you’ve been manifesting are about to come into physical form. Take action from a place of profound courage, knowing that you cannot fail. Dive head and heart first into your deepest knowing; your intuition will not steer you wrong on this one.